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War Crimes: The Gross Gerau Incident

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War, MIA, & Internees' started by BMBazooka, Aug 10, 2016.

  1. BMBazooka

    BMBazooka Well-Known Member

    His died or KIA brother ("Now I have revenge for my brother") is also mentioned on the local plate for the fallen soldiers.
    I'll try to get a denazification file on Sturm when I go to Gross-Gerau next time.
     
  2. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Susanne,
    The matter of the change in uniform trousers by StFw. Sturm is mentioned in the 3 August 1945 trial testimony of the United States vs Flauaus and Fachinger http://www.online.uni-marburg.de/icwc/dachau/000-012-0793.pdf page 4, where StFw. Sturm is only referred to as the (unknown German soldier). The trouser change occurred after the killings to disguise StFw. Sturm before leaving the City Hall court yard where the murders of Lt Evans and Sgt Purkey took place. StFw. Sturm then departed in a car.

    Here is your earlier trial posting for the 28-29 July 1947 trial of United States vs Georg Sturm http://www.online.uni-marburg.de/icwc/dachau/000-012-0793-002.pdf to bring these two documents together on the same forum page.

    If StFw. Georg Sturm had been identified earlier, rounded up and tried on 3 August 1945 along with Flauaus and Fachinger, Strum likely would have also been sentenced to death. 1 year, 11 months, and 25 days had elapsed since the trial of Flauaus and Fachinger.

    Does this Groß-Gerau City Hall and court yard still exist today? If it does this would be a most fitting place for a memorial to Purkey and Evans murdered by Nazis military and civilian participants on this spot the afternoon of 29 August 1944.

    Is this the place at corner of Mainer & Frankfurter Straße where Purkey and Evans were murdered?
    Old City Hall of Groß-Gerau, Hesse, Germany.jpg
    Is that the court yard with fence?
    Scott
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  3. BMBazooka

    BMBazooka Well-Known Member

    No, this is not the city house ("Stadthaus"), but the town hall.
    The City House is nearly unchanged except the gate. There are still the stone steps and the wooden steps one of the airmen had used in a lasr attempt to escape.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  4. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Where then were Purkey and Evans murdered?
     
  5. BMBazooka

    BMBazooka Well-Known Member

    upload_2017-3-5_18-22-57.png

    Its the building on the right side. You can see the gate. The steps I talked o are in the yard.
     
  6. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, just a little down Frankfurter Straße from the Town Hall viewed at the end of the Straße in your photo. Sadly there is no Google street view in Groß-Gerau here is the aerial which I hope is correctly labeled.
    Overview Groß-Gerau City Hall (Stadthaus), Purkey & Evans murdered.jpg
     
  7. BMBazooka

    BMBazooka Well-Known Member

    I am not sure if its the house with the red or the black roof.
     
  8. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is difficult to determine from the aerial view. The building with the black roof (which looks new to me) appears to have the stone steps in front of it (and is labeled by Google as a city works building) The red roof building is identified as [Hörgeräte Klarmann-Hearing Aid Store Frankfurter Str. 22 ]. The driveway between these two buildings (where the wooden gate would have been) seems much wider than shown in your photo but this could just be the angle of the photo. - Is that a photo or a graphic drawing of this Frankfurter Straße scene?

    Edit: closer image of these two buildings.
    Groß-Gerau City Hall (Stadthaus), stone steps.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  9. BMBazooka

    BMBazooka Well-Known Member

    Then it mus ne the one with the black roof. I think they changed the yard sometimes later. There was a fire department installation in the back yard. Thats why they drove around with the british flyer Dunkley and the Stonebraker crew in the fire department cars. This was on the 26th.
     
  10. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Perhaps the Town Hall building would be a better location for a memorial as there were more victims here then just Purkey and Evans. This Town Hall building appears to be more (ornamental?) with white outline lighting and possibly more appropriate for a memorial location with greater viability.

    In your talks with city officials about a possible memorial was a location ever discussed?
     
  11. BMBazooka

    BMBazooka Well-Known Member

    You have to go two steps back: We discussed the possebility of a memory plaque... ;)
     
  12. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Right! I did jump ahead not remembering the status of your talks. I could understand the Groß-Gerau city officials including the Mayor not wanting to "advertise" their fine town as another war crimes "allied airmen murder" capital of the Third Reich.
     
  13. BMBazooka

    BMBazooka Well-Known Member

    Would be a sad competition with the neighborhood town of Russelsheim.
     
  14. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Yes, a sad competition indeed for the twin murder towns 8 km apart. Who knows it might be good for tourism, compared to who has the better brätwurst und bier.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. BMBazooka

    BMBazooka Well-Known Member

    Scott, apart of some people the topic is not very popular over here. Rüsselsheim had a long way to go to the memorial for the 6 murdered air men. And I do not know if Hans Diebschlag, Dagmar Eichhorn and especially Sidney Brown hadn't been on the scene if it would have been possible then.
    I have Sidney Browns recollection on this day as an audio and it will always be in my mind till I die. We'll have a short sequence of it in the Dresden exhibition (if we get the permission). I am so full of admiration for Brown for his strength to return to Rüsselsheim, not only once, to go the places of the killings. It reminds me a little bit on the way of the cross in medieval times, and he was a strong believer in christian faith as a baptist. Otherwise, I guess, he wouldn't be able to face the Rüsselsheim people.
     
  16. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Susanne.
    Yes it must be difficult for a relatively small community such as Rüsselsheim to not only admit that a terrible war crime atrocity occurred in their town and nearly a miracle that they would erect a memorial to the victims of a size resembling a billboard; no hiding from the truth here! As you note this might not have been possible without veteran and veteran family support visiting Rüsselsheim Germany; the scene of the crime, if you will. This support came from Sidney Brown (tail gunner), lone survivor of the killed aircrew and Madeline Teremy, daughter of the pilot, 2nd Lt. Norman J. Rogers Jr killed by the civilian mob at Rüsselsheim.

    It should also be noted and hopefully obvious that you require the same type of veteran family support to help convince the Groß-Gerau city officials that a similar memorial is wanted and required for the airman murders in their town. The likely candidates for this Groß-Gerau veteran support for a memorial would be the Purkey, Evans, Vlahos family members and Doug Rapp. And support from the 306th Bomb Group Association. This memorial negotiation is in its infancy but without veteran family support might fail.

    For interested forum members the Rüsselsheim airman murder case comes up on page 4 of this thread http://forum.armyairforces.com/threads/war-crimes-the-gross-gerau-incident.746/page-3 post #46 & 47. and these off forum articles http://b-29s-over-korea.com/Russelsheim/Russelsheim01.html page 1 http://b-29s-over-korea.com/Russelsheim/Russelsheim02.html
    page 2, and http://www.stripes.com/news/german-town-s-memorial-honors-u-s-airmen-1.23648#.WL19pOQzWM9
    Rüsselsheim Memorial
    Russelsheim_Memorial_01.jpg
    Russelsheim_Memorial_02.jpg
    Pictured above: Madeline Teremy stands in front of Memorial which contains photos of the B-24 crew. Her father was the pilot, 2nd Lt. Norman J. Rogers Jr.

    2nd Lt. Norman J. Rogers Jr. and the rest of his crew are memorialized to a small degree here https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=56660177

    It is desired that something similar be erected at Groß-Gerau, however a memorial plaque of any kind acknowledging the allied airman murdered there would be better than nothing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
    BMBazooka likes this.
  17. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    There were also helping civilians at Gross Gerau !!!
     
    BMBazooka likes this.
  18. BMBazooka

    BMBazooka Well-Known Member

    Great find!
     
  19. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    A couple of points about this P-61 crash. The last radio contact with the plane put it over Gross Gerau, but it appears to have crashed in the countryside, so the men who helped the radar operator where probably farmers, not men from Gross Gerau. According to Wikipedia (source of all true knowledge ;-), Darmstadt was captured on 20 March 1945 by the 4th Armored Division. This crash happened on 24 March in the early morning.

    The pilot did not survive and the family had just been informed of the death of another son on Luzon.
    https://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=46381830
     
  20. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Concur with Rolland. 11 page MACR 13328 for 42-5582 starts here on fold3 https://www.fold3.com/image/42056513 Even in the witness statement posted by Jaap 2nd Lt Davis Howerton was carried by litter (walking) for a couple of hours to the nearest town Darmstadt, which is 13 km away from Groß-Gerau. 2nd Lt Davis Monroe Howerton, Jr. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=154305980

    As to the ground war, elements of Third Army captured this entire area Frankfort, Groß-Gerau, Darmstadt between 15 March and 1 April 1945 with the Nazis burning towns as they retreated. Hard to say who did more damage us or them. https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006181

    As to "helping civilians at Gross Gerau" at this point in time with defeat more than obvious I would wager it would be difficult to find any civilian admitting they "EVER!" had anything to do with the Nazi Party (all good peaceful Germans). As to "helping civilians at Gross Gerau" on 29 August 1944 they may well have existed but if you asked Lt Evans or Sgt Purkey I am sure they would disagree. However you can't ask them because they were murdered by a mob, where were the helping civilians of Gross Gerau then (NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!)

    Darmstadt to Groß-Gerau 13 km apart.jpg 1945-04-01GerWW2BattlefrontAtlas.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017

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